Reacting a piece about Mike Huckabee over at WaPo, Bill Quick writes:
The question is whether you are willing to make the sacrifices and do what is necessary to legitimately become wealthy. Work long hours? Forgo immediate gratification? Get and stay married, or at least in a committed relationship where your kids are being raised by both of their parents? Prize education as a goal?
I read the story Quick referenced, and this passage is what put me on full CAPSLOCK meltdown:
Huckabee was far more critical of GOP nominee Mitt Romney, and his post-election comment that President Obama won the election with “gifts” to minorities and the young. “Having grown up poor, I know that poor people aren’t poor because they want to be,” Huckabee told me, joining the long list of Republicans who can’t seem to run away from Romney fast enough. “They’re not on government assistance because they want to be.”
I’m from Oklahoma, right next door to Huck’s home state of Arkansas, and anyone who lives in either state knows what rural poverty looks like – some in the cities know what urban poverty looks like, too. Anyone who lives in a state with Indian Reservations knows damn-well what real American poverty looks like, and is also familiar with the cyclical nature of government dependency that enslaves people who are indeed poor.
My mom grew up poor but somehow, her family managed to not take government assistance (in part because it would have made them pariahs), but my parents ensured my sibling and I had a good, middle-class upbringing ie we wanted for nothing. What is galling about what Huckabee says is that he is more/less implying that anyone who is poor must rely on government assistance. He knows better – worse still, this man of God is lying in order to create his own little narrative whereby his view of the world is right. Huckabee has always been a Pro Life Democrat in spirit, but there’s no money in that.
People used to loathe taking government assistance, just as people used to shame those who bred children they couldn’t take care of out of wedlock. Oh the times… People on government assistance now see no stigma attached to and, reductively, feel no shame in taking it. They don’t like it? Seriously?
Always has been bullshit, always will be bullshit.
Furthermore, anyone who is on Twitter or Facebook, follows Twitchy and other social media aggregators, know that today’s gobblers of EFT cards ie food stamps, Obama phones, and Section 8 government housing are more than happy to take it. They feel no shame because there is no longer a stigma attached to taking money from a neighbor to ensure the taker is nice and comfortable.
This isn’t anecdotal – lazy, over-educated, debt-ridden hipsters using their government EFT cards to indulge their absurd foodie-isms has become a cliche it’s so commonplace.
I’m an empathetic man, overly-so believe it or not. I don’t laugh at human misery in any form, but I don’t brook laziness, bad habits, poor life choices and the panoply of other factors that thrust a great many Americans into poverty. As I’ve written about before, although not at the top of my family’s tree, I make it well-known that any extended family member who chooses to take government assistance is not welcome at our family’s home each Christmas. Want the government to be your daddy? That’s your entitlement, but the State is your family.
The problem with “government assistance”is that imbues and inculcates an attitude that life would not be possible without it ie once you take food stamps and government housing and free phones, most people have zero motivation to get back on their feet and eschew these State-provided pleasures. People aren’t bad for taking government assistance, but relying on it as anything beyond a short-term, stop-gap to misery will turn a good person rotten.